Props to Ron Paul and Mike Gravel on drug policy
[Republican candidate Ron Paul] detests the federal war on drugs; the LSD guru Timothy Leary held a fundraiser for him in 1988.While I disagree with Ron Paul on government spending on social programs and health care (he's against it, I think we need more & better) and numerous other things, I think he deserves mad props for being against the war on drugs. As far as I know, he's the highest profile politician to publicly take this position. Where are the Democratic candidates on this? Back in April, Ariana Huffington lamented their silence:
But a quick search of the top Democratic hopefuls' websites reveals that not one of them -- not Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama, not John Edwards, not Joe Biden, not Chris Dodd, not Bill Richardson -- even mentions the drug war, let alone offers any solutions.
The silence coming from Clinton and Obama is particularly deafening.
I don't know how much has changed since then, but apparently the ice is starting to break a bit. here's Drug WarRant:
At that site you'll also find the usual graphs that make plain how incarceration-happy we are:
But from the brief recaps I've seen around the web, the drug war got some play, with Gravel and Kucinich, of course, but also with Biden, Dodd, Richardson, and Clinton at least, giving some mention to things such as eliminating mandatory minimums and crack/powder disparities, and making needle exchange available to reduce HIV.
Poking around the web, I did find one Democratic candidate who spoke out against the Drug War: Mike Gravel:
It's pathetic that the only people speaking out on this on the Democratic and Republican sides are Mike Gravel and Ron Paul, respectively. The "fringe" candidates are the only ones who seem willing to state the obvious: our current policy isn't working. This seems to be one area where the Democrats aren't any better than the Republicans. While there can be a lot of disagreement about what we should be doing, I don't think anyone can say our interdiction & criminalization policies have been successful. Can we stop acting all Iraq-ish on this and at least have the courage to look at reality?
“The scourge of our present society, particularly in the African-American community, is the war on drugs,” Gravel said in response to a question about the high rate of HIV/AIDS infections among black teenagers.
Then he said this about the other Democrats on the stage: “If they really want to do something about the inner cities, if they really want to do something about what’s happening to the health of the African-American community, it’s time to end this war. There’s no reason to continue it in the slightest. All it does is create criminals out of people who are not criminals.”
His words drew applause from the mostly black audience, but not even a nod of agreement from the other Democrats on stage with him.